Adulting in MANTIES WITH A TWIST–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M BDSM book that it totes out there from J.A. Rock. MANTIES WITH A TWIST is an absotively posilutely entertaining ride through the brain of a (possibly ADHD) 27 y/o sub named Kamen who has finally begun adulting in earnest, by moving in with his boyfriend/Dom of 4 months, Ryan. I honestly cannot count the times I burst into chuckles, giggles and straight-up guffaws while reading this one.

Manties in a Twist (The Subs Club, #3)About the book:
Look, I’ll never stop missing Hal, but this Subs Club my friends started to review suck-ass doms isn’t gonna bring him back or give him justice. For me, it’s just another chance to hang out with my friends, even if they think I’m too dumb to understand the important work we’re supposedly doing.

But maybe I’m not as dumb as they think—at least I know when I’ve got a good thing going. Which is why I just moved in with my dom. Ryan’s awesome possum. He’s really short, never makes me feel stupid, and is up for anything. One word: costumes. Two more words: women’s underwear. We’re all about the lace, no leather.

Except when we do pony play. We first tried it as a joke, but turns out I’m ballin’ at it. Now PetPlayFest is coming up, and I wanna take down the Subs Club’s archrival, Cinnamon the ponygirl, in the horse show.

My friends think I’m spending too much time with Ryan and ignoring my obligations to the group. But since when is friendship an obligation? Ryan’s my first serious relationship, and I want to take it . . . seriously. At some point I need to think about my future, not my past.


My Review:
This is the third book in a series and I’ve not read the two previous, but that was fine. I slid right into Kamen’s head, which is an extremely busy, yet paradoxically simple, place.

Kamen is one of four childhood friends, and he’s still close to Dave, Miles and Gould–the other principals of the Subs Club. They started the club to raise awareness within their community about bad Doms and much of that was due to the death of their dear friend, and fellow sub Hal, who choked in a public rope-play scene. Dave and Gould are still traumatized by this, as is Miles and Kamen, but Miles and Kamen seem to be getting past the grief–which upsets Dave and Gould.

Kamen’s happy with his live-in Dom, Ryan, who is far smaller than Kamen, a burly athletic man. It’s part of Ryan’s attraction, actually, Kamen loves feeling like a dragon at the end of his diminutive Dom’s leash. I seriously dug their dynamic. Kamen is totally gaga for Ryan, and gets frustrated that his peers are not so enthusiastic. It was bittersweet for him, and I thought it poignantly reflected that break in life, where that first serious relationship intrudes and makes a person less-available for the “buds” than they have ever been before. That resentment was clear between Kamen’s bros and Ryan.

Within their apartment Kamen and Ryan indulge in play they have never considered previously. An errant pair of panties sparks a whole new level for them, with Kamen dabbling in not only manties but also drag. Then, a nasty altercation with ponygirl Cinnamon launches another new phase for them: pet play. (This type of play requires one of the partners to dress and act the part of an animal, while the other behaves as a trainer. It is not always sexual.) Cinnamon was present when Hal had died, and the Subs Club considers her to be Public Enemy #1, so joining the PetPlayFest competition with the intent to best Cinnamon at her own game is a vengeful step.

All of this seems odd and sordid, and I’ll be honest, it is and isn’t. It’s fun and free and flexible and still damn funny, because Kamen is a rock star and does absolutely nothing by halves. He’s never been into pet play but he dives in with and enthusiasm that is unquenchable. He and Ryan invest a ton of cash to purchase all the accoutrements, they build a cart (for the cart race, natch…) Kamen learns all about dressage and how to be the most graceful Thunder Canyon (that’s his stallion name, yo) that he can be.

Through all of this, Kamen has to come to terms with his mostly adult life, and it seems to work out. I had some Whoa! moments where Kamen’s awesome possum insight struck very close to the bone, and it made me love this book. The voice took me a bit of time to enjoy, because Kamen speaks like a twitter account, and I had to acclimate. After that, it was off to the races.

Interested? You can find MANTIES IN A TWIST on Goodreads, Riptide PublishingAmazonAllRomanceBarnes & NobleKobo , and iBooks. I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley.

About the Author:
J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including BY HIS RULES, TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, and, with Lisa Henry, THE GOOD BOY and WHEN ALL THE WORLD SLEEPS. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

You can catch up with her online on her website, twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Her Life is TEQUILA & TEA BAGS–Review and Giveaway

Facebook Cover PhotoHi all! Today I’m sharing in the blitz for a quirky contemporary New Adult romance. Laura Barnard’s TEQUILA & TEA BAGS is a hoot sure to be enjoyed by lovers of Bridget Jones… This is ADULT read.

Tequila and Tea BagsAbout the Book:

Sent to live with her cousin Elsie in the Yorkshire countryside, Rose has only one thing on her mind; joining her friends as a club rep in Mexico.

When she hears about a council incentive offering the promise of free flights to the person who clocks the most volunteering hours at the local care home, she’s got her plan set.
But she doesn’t plan on bonding with the old ladies, going after the village bad boy and trying to persuade Elsie not to become a Nun.

Soon she’s questioning who her real friends are and whether her old life is one she wants to return to.

Can the village win her over and will she win the chance to leave it behind? Will she even want to?


My Review:

Well! I do love me a funny romance, and Bridget Jones is a go-to for my feel good times, so I was destined to enjoy this!

23 y/o Rose is given a serious wake-up call when her parents cut off all her allowance and force her to move from the London suburbs to a hamlet in the Yorkshire countryside. She’s now sharing a flat with her cousin Elsie–who is trianing to become a nun.

This party girl is bereft, until she learns that volunteering in the local retirement home will garner the chance at a holiday. Her BFF is currently in Mexico, and Rose is desperate to join her. Naturally, the center’s director–the infuriating, yet good-looking Will–is an impediment.

Rose finds trouble without even trying–by basically lying about her skills. Barmaid? Sure! (Cue the beer flood) Horse-minding? No problem! (OMG–even Bridget never caused this kind of havoc!)

Along the way, Rose becomes the shag-buddy of Will’s younger (disreputable) brother James. through the month of Rose’s visit, she and Will get to know each other very well. Much like BJ, Rose is involved in a love triangle she never intended, but I think we can all guess this girl has a whole lot of hilarious self-discovery in her future. And, a good-looking, compassionate man at her side!

The book moves quickly and is peppered with interesting side characters. I loved how Rose and one of the retirees, Betty, bonded. They had a far better relationship than even Rose and her parents. It’s fun to see a character grow when loved and respected, instead of pitied and reviled.

Interested?  You can find Tequila & Tea Bags on Goodreads and Amazon (US and UK).


Like my FB page and that of Laura Barnard, then come back and tell me you did in the comments. One lucky commenter will get a book! Yay! Thanks, Laura!

Laura BarnardAbout the Author:

My name is Laura Barnard and I am an author from Hertfordshire, UK. My first chick-lit novel, The Debt & the Doormat was an Amazon number 1 best-seller and won Best Laugh Out Loud Book of 2013. It is available via Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks. Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository and many more.

In my spare time I enjoy drinking my body weight in tea, indulging in cupcakes the size of my face, drooling over hunks like Jamie Dornan, Ryan Gosling and Leo Dicaprio…oh and my husband of course! I like wearing yoga clothes and reading fitness magazines while I sit on the sofa and eat chocolate. I’m a real fan of the power nap and of course, READING!

I write not to get rich or famous, but because I LOVE writing. Even if one person tells me they enjoyed my book it makes the midnight typing worth it!

Catch up with Laura on her website, Goodreads, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

She’s Desperate to Not be a VIRGIN–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a New Adult romance from a debut novelist: VIRGIN by Radhika Sanghani. It’s all about a 21 year old gal who is *still* a virgin. And she isn’t happy about it…

VirginAbout the book:
Okay, I admit it…I didn’t do it.


This is normal, right?  I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?

It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.

The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?

Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?

I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.

Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.

My Review:

Elena “Ellie” Kolstakis is a 21 year old virgin. Some people would celebrate this as “strong moral character” but Ellie feels cursed. She’s been at uni in London three years now and has never had a boyfriend. She’s not hideous, or deformed. Mostly, she’s average–with an overdeveloped sense of self-loathing.

See, Ellie feels left out of the crowd whenever her buds start talking about hook-ups and beer goggles and embarrassing first times. She wants to have sex, dammit, and it becomes her mission. This, by the way, comes with a whole lot of pre-sex prep–including waxing, shaving, and plucking to cultivating the perfect lady garden.

I will, for the record, state this is the only book which made me laugh out loud over the use of the term: Hitler.

Ellie’s quest leads her to almost hooking up, having a huge fall out with her childhood BFF, fighting with her mom, making a new BF, making a gay best friend (who happens to also be virgin), starting a vlog, meeting a decent guy, having fairly decent snogs, gaining self-confidence, and experiencing epic fails at both scoring and pubic bareness.

I did have several moments of /facepalm laughs. Poor Ellie!

Spoiler–she does tear her V-card.

Not-so-spoiler–She has one heck of a time getting the deed done.

So, on a personal level, I totally sympathized with Ellie’s eagerness to be “just like everybody,” but I was also glad she found new connections. Her mother’s ham-handed effort to unite Ellie with Paul was so brilliantly handled. And, Ellie reaching out to Emma helped Ellie to grow out of her cautious shell. I truly adored Ellie’s adventurous spirit. She’s like that awkward cousin everyone likes but quietly pities because she’s so sweet and yet so socially clueless.

Ellie’s level of personal growth was excellent–she didn’t emerge from her shell-she burst forth and dove headlong into an active social experiment: Operation Fix Ellie. But, having finished her quest, with bittersweet results, Ellie took a moment to reflect on her self and realized that she wasn’t broken at the beginning of this journey. She was just fine being a virgin–even if she wasn’t a virgin any longer. I rather liked her more for that.

Now, be prepared for lots of vagina talk in this book. The amount of time devoted to pubic grooming is substantial, and forms many of the gags in this book. Imagine a hairy man being outraged by pubic hair, while a bare man is stunned to not find any? Yeah, poor Ellie just can’t win that battle.

I also liked VIRGIN’s commentary on porn in today’s society. The arguments about its prevalence and acceptability were sound and funny, and the expectations placed on women as a result of porn rang true. The setting was cool, because I like the London scene and lingo. The smexytimes were akin to THE FORTY YEAR OLD VIRGIN in scope and humor. Lots of fits and starts with cringe-worthy happenings that only made me love Ellie more for embarking on this personal journey. This book is NOT for kiddos. Lots and lots of frank discussions of sex, and how to get some…

Interested? You can find VIRGIN on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I obtained a copy of his book via NetGalley for review.

Radhika SanghaniAbout the author: (in Radhika’s words…)

I have just written my debut novel VIRGIN, which will be coming out in August in America, with Penguin, and September here in the UK with Harlequin.
I’m a women’s writer for The Daily Telegraph in London where I write on women’s issues.
I read constantly and love reviewing contemporary novels. Feel free to get in touch!

You can connect with Radhika on her website, Goodreads, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Cephalopod Coffeehouse November 2013–The Grave Danger of Loving Darynda Jones’s Fiction

Hi there and welcome to my review for this month’s Cephalopod Coffeehouse–a book review forum hosted by the Armchair Squid. I had a surprisingly hard time choosing a book for this month’s feature.

As usual I read a killer ton–thirty books, I think. Most I reviewed for my blog, a few for NetGalley, the others for my own guilty pleasure…

I had considered His Name is Sir by Deena Ward. This is absolutely what Pride and Prejudice would have been if Jane Austen wrote BDSM romance. I adored it–and all four books in her Power to Please Collection.

I also considered Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning–the first of her uber-steamy Sinners on Tour series–which delivers EXACTLY what the tagline of the book promises: Love, Sex and Rock-n-Roll.

Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson #5)But I think I’ll go with Darynda Jones’s FIFTH GRAVE PAST THE LIGHT. This is the newest installment of the Charley Davidson series. I reviewed First Grave on the Right last month in my Halloween Spooktacular of paranormal romance features, and the fifth book in the series is not a let down.

If anything, I’m trying to locate the lovely Ms. Jones’s net server so I can hack in for her e-galley of the next book in the series.


Because she–somehow–made a gal raised in a christian home fall in love with the son of Satan.

That’s right. I love her super-Alpha love interest Reyes Alexander Farrow. I may have some competition from Charley, but hey…

Here’s what happens. Charley is a reaper–actually the only living one in existence. Her humor is Outer Limits–I crack up reading her deadpan observations–which takes a bit of the “grimness” out of her reaper duties: being a portal through which the dead cross into the afterlife. When they pass through her, she absorbs some of their memories. Communicating with the dead is handy for Charley’s private investigator work. Especially when she helps her uncle solve crimes in his job as a Detective for the Albuquerque PD.

In this book, Charley’s longstanding attraction to Reyes Farrow is tested to the limit. See, Reyes has moved into her building–right next door. And he keeps leaving her these sexy Post-its telling her to come over. Charley would like to–but she’s nervous. First, as the son of Satan Reyes may be able to lead Lucifer’s army straight into Heaven by breaching Charley’s portal. Also, Charley suspects Reyes is behind a string of arsons that inexplicably have destroyed every dwelling Reyes ever shared with his sexually abusive step-father. Places where photographic evidence of Reyes’ molestation had been hidden in the walls…

At her core, Charley is an honest soul. She won’t hesitate to turn Reyes in if he’s a criminal. As she isn’t sure, she continues to search for evidence. In the meantime she and Reyes share some heated (read: smoking hot) encounters. Because–did I mention he makes me swoon?–he’s delicious. Intelligent, strong, virile, compassionate and head-over-heels for Charley without losing his magnetic charisma.

In the midst of her Reyes-confusion, Charley works on solving a newly-discovered serial killer case. She follows a few dead leads, and aids nearly thirty lost souls to find their eternal rest. Her discovery of the arsonist seemed more obvious (to me) but handily removes the tension betwixt herself and Reyes. It seems Charley’s life will move to the next level with Reyes into Happily Ever Land–until she’s kidnapped by a maniac.

The book ends with an arrangement I hope Charley will not refuse–even if it means the end of civilization as we know it.

These books are housed under Mystery at my library–only because they don’t have a “Smoking-Hot-Dead-Funny-Paranormal-Romance-Mystery” section in the stacks. If you’re interested, schedule some vacation time and read this series from the start. I think you’ll lose sleep. I know I have.

You can find these books at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, booksellers worldwide, or any library system worth its bricks.

If you check these out–let me know what you think in the comments.

And, as always, keep reading my friends!

Now, follow these links to check out the reviews of my fellow coffeehousers…
1. The Armchair Squid                       7. Trisha @ WORD STUFF

2. Scouring Monk                               8. Kate O’Sullivan Read, Write, Repeat 

3. mainewords                                     9. Bird’s Nest

4. Huntress                                          10. Hungry Enough to Eat Six

5. Denise C Covey                               11. The Random Book Review

6. A Creative Exercise                         12. Words Incorporated

13. Defending the Pen